Every now and again we all hit a wall. For me it happens fairly regularly and I’m usually able to recover fairly quickly. But it’s not always been like that. I’ve had to train myself to recover from burnout. Unfortunately it’s a largely intuitive process and even recognizing burnout can be tricky.
I’m a fairly creative person and I go through regular creative highs and lows. It can be difficult for me to tell the difference between a down day, or creative low, and something a bit more than that. Sometimes it’s easier when it hits like a ton of bricks.
Either way, burnout, creative or otherwise, is a common problem, especially for those who work hard and function at a high level. You simply can’t keep working without resting. Burnout happens for a reason. It’s your mind and body telling you to take a break and as a first step towards getting back on track, that is exactly what I think you should do if your dealing with burnout.
h3. Tips To Help You (and Me) Recover From Burnout
* Learn to recognize burnout. I’m actually going through burnout right now. You can see it if you look hard at the quality of my writing the last few days. That’s one good way to tell if you’re nearing the end of your rope–your usually quality of work will suffer a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, because if you can gain momentary focus (like I feel I’ve got right now) you can power through it. Regardless of if you can cope, it’s important to acknowledge it and take appropriate steps.
* Take some time off. I feel the best way to recover from burnout is to take as much time off as possible. Sure there are times when you’ll not be able to take an extended vacation (although I can safely say those are needed from time to time) but you should at least give yourself a few days away from anything work related. Relax a bit! You’ll usually know when it’s time to get back to it. For me ideas start coming and I feel a need to do something.
* Get some sleep. Often when I’m feeling burnt-out all I’ll need is a few really good nights sleep to get my energy and creative juices flowing again.
* Play. Exercise and laughter are great ways to deal with stress and they’ll help get your mind back to a place where it can be productive and creative again.
* Eat. Food, especially really good food, the kind that makes you feel guilty, can help put your mind in a good place. Just don’t over do it! ;)
* Work on something new or different. If you have to work, try getting away from what you’ve been working on recently. Try working on a pet project or something new. Sometimes just breaking your routine will get you out of a burnout induced rut.
* Work on something you love. Take a break from “not fun” work, to work on “fun” work.
With that, I’m taking a few days off. I’m going to have a sleeping contest with my cat, then it’s off to Las Vegas for some play, some good food and some relaxation. When I get back I plan on working on a few pet projects of mine that I’ve neglected the last few months and see if I can move those forward.
Hopefully, if my advice is true, which I’ve known it to be, I’ll be back in a week or so, refreshed and ready to go! Cheers.